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Watt/El Camino Recycling Center

The recycling center at the Valero Station next to Del Taco on Watt has seemed like an attractive nuisance for nearby residents and businesses. That recycling facility does not conform to Sacramento County's current standards and the owners are seeking permission to continue. The first step in the approval process is for the Arden Arcade Community Planning Advisory Council (CPAC) to ascertain public opinion. The Bee recently published a reasonably accurate story about the CPAC meeting on June 23, 2016, where residents and business told about unfortunate experiences with the recycling center and urged that the facility be closed.

California law requires consumers to pay extra money when they buy certain canned and bottled beverages (labeled as CRV for California Redemption Value). The funds collected are supposed to support convenient recycling centers throughout the state such that consumers can recover the costs of the deposits on those cans and bottles, thereby keeping recyclable material out of landfills. In practice, that incentive to recycle has resulted in a recycling industry which, when coupled with widespread economic stress, has evolved into one of the few ways that people of limited means can try to sustain themselves. Cans and bottles put in bins for bi-weekly pickups by the County are desirable materials for impoverished people who take large amounts of CRV containers to nearby recycling centers.  Removal of recyclable material from the waste stream has thus transitioned from a convenience for grocery shoppers into something more like an industrial activity that, sadly, underpins the poor and the homeless.  The state's decades-old recycling law has not kept pace with modern reality, exemplified by the serious problems related about the facility at Watt and El Camino.

After hearing the public's stories, the CPAC voted to recommend County staff deny the operating permit as well as to appeal the decision of the County staff if the CPAC's recommendation is not heeded. The County has closed some recycling centers elsewhere that had been disrupting other neighborhoods, with the results being abatement of the problems. It remains to be seen whether the Watt/El Camino facility will be allowed to continue.

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